Roddick impresses in late show
Fifth seed Andy Roddick cruised into the third round at the US Open with another late-night show of strength.
Roddick, runner-up to Roger Federer in their epic Wimbledon men's final eight weeks ago, put in a powerful performance under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium to suggest he is ready to vie with the world number one for the second grand slam in a row.
The American, champion here in 2003 before the Swiss began his five-year unbeaten run, moved a step closer to a potential semi-final date with Federer by blasting Frenchman Marc Gicquel away 6-1 6-4 6-4 and he will next face unseeded compatriot John Isner.
Roddick had been forced to wait until gone 11pm local time on Monday night before taking to the court to defeat Germany's Bjorn Phau in straight sets and it was nearly 1030pm in New York when he got to start taking apart 32-year-old Gicquel, the world number 81.
The omens had not been good for Gicquel, who in their three previous meetings had failed to even break Roddick's serve, most recently on clay at the French Open when the world number five wrapped things up in 104 minutes.
This time it took 113 minutes as Gicquel made a bit of a fight of it, at least on his own serve, preventing the rout that had looked on the cards after Roddick swept the first set in 25 minutes.
The Frenchman even gained his first break point of the match in the final game as Roddick looked to close out the victory, although that was only a minor frustration for the fifth seed.
"Even in the second set when he got down, he started playing a little bit more aggressively and that was certainly the case in the last game," Roddick said.
"He came back and I was getting a little nervous there but I'm glad I was able to pull it out."
Roddick faces fellow American Isner in the third round having twice beaten the 6ft 9ins 24-year-old in previous meetings, although he is expecting a tougher contest this weekend.
"John's been playing a lot better and it's going to be a completely different match-up," Roddick said.
"I'm not going to be able to break as much in these first couple of matches and it's going to come down to a couple of points here and there."
World number four Novak Djokovic was rewarded for his greater consistency as he claimed a 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory over Carsten Ball in the second round of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
While Djokovic hit only three aces to his opponent's nine with Ball producing serves of up to 135mph, the Australian foundered after producing seven double faults and making 45 unforced errors.
Djokovic eased through the first set in little more than half an hour finding greater success on his first serve and converting his vital break point to win 6-3.
The 2008 semi-finalist then broke his opponent in the third game of the second set and held serve to take a 3-1 lead.
The rest of the set went with serve and Djokovic appeared on the brink of a two-set lead but he could not convert two set points and instead Ball held for 4-5.
However, Djokovic responded by winning the next game to love to take the set 6-4.
The fourth seed had two break points in the first game of the third but Ball managed to hold and proceedings went with serve until the ninth game when Djokovic made a vital break.
The 22-year-old raced into a 40-0 lead and although Ball recovered to deuce, Djokovic managed to convert on his sixth break point for 5-4 and he then successfully served out for the match.
Eighth seed Nikolay Davydenko got past Czech Jan Hernych 6-4 6-1 6-2 to set up a third-round meeting with Swiss player Marco Chiudinelli, a four-set winner over Mikhail Youzhny.
Wimbledon semi-finalist Tommy Haas breezed into the third round with a 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-3) victory over American Robert Kendrick.
The German, seeded 20th, created 18 break point opportunities in the match, but it stretched on longer than it might have as he converted only two.
He will now face 10th seed Fernando Verdasco after he cruised past Florent Serra 6-3 6-0 6-3.
Verdasco, who reached his first grand slam semi-final when losing the Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open earlier this year, dispatched the Frenchman in under 90 minutes as he continues the hot form that saw him claim his first ATP World Tour title last week in New Haven.
Number 21 seed James Blake rounded out the day session on Ashe with the home crowd roaring their approval as he beat Belgium's Olivier Rochus 6-4 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3, while compatriot Sam Querrey, the 22nd seed, won an all-American tie with Kevin Kim 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-4.
Blake next plays 14th seed Tommy Robredo who beat fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2 4-6 6-2 6-4 while Querrey will face French Open finalist Robin Soderling, the 12th seed, who beat Spain's Marcel Granollers, after the Spaniard retired hurt in the first set.
There were also wins for 23rd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany and Czech Radek Stepanek, the 15th seed with the seeds set to meet in the next round.
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